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In the words of Andy Williams, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but with this comes a lot of pressure to constantly be enjoying yourself.
While it is wonderful, Christmas can also be overwhelming, and so it is important to take precautions and make sure you are taking care of your mental wellbeing.
Easier said than done when it is freezing and all you want to do is sit inside devouring a selection box.
However, keeping active is just as important over the festive period as with any other time of year. We know that exercise not only has benefits on our physical health but can also help lift our mood, boost self-esteem and motivation, increase energy levels and even help with sleep, which can all take a hit during the winter months.
Moderation is key
Christmas is a time for indulging, but it is true that what we eat can have an impact on our mental wellbeing.
Of course, we are not saying you need to pass on the Christmas cheese board but take time to listen to your body and how it is feeling.
Try and establish a regular eating pattern, even on party days!
Too many people over restrict during the day in order to make up for the calories they think they will consume later and all this does is confuse the metabolism, resulting in eating in excess later. Sticking to a regular eating pattern, including plenty of colours and whole grains and lean protein to prevent blood sugar fluctuations, means you are less likely to make poor choices.
Don’t beat yourself up if you have a few days on the trot where you feel like you over indulge, its a few days out of several weeks and the body can cope with this, it will self regulate
The same can be said when it comes to alcohol.
While a couple of mulled wines over the festive period may feel like an essential part of Christmas, it is important to make sure that if you’re drinking you do so sensibly and because you want to, not because you have to.
Whilst alcohol may well lower your inhibitions and make you feel relaxed and more confident at that party, if you are prone to feeling down or feeling blue, alcohol’s depressant properties can actually confound how you feel and send your low mood spiralling further downwards.
Talk to people
When everyone is prancing around the place singing Christmas songs, admitting that you’re not feeling 100% can be hard.
But bottling up how you feel is likely to make your mood all the more worse. Instead share how you feel with someone whether it is a family member, a friend or a partner to help lessen the burden.
At the very least, you may be able to think through together what steps you need to take that could help, even if that means them joining a Doctors appointment for moral support.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself
It is easy to get swept up in the excitement of the festive period and feel like you have to be rocking around the Christmas tree all day every day. Saying no to social events is difficult at the best of times, but even more so over Christmas when highlight reels and social media is awash with everyone’s festive plans.
Make sure you set aside some quiet down time (night in with a friend or a workout) and be brave to turn down that offer of an umpteenth night out; turn off social media notifications for that evening if you have to and avoid the dreaded FOMO.
What are some of your top tips for taking care of your mental wellbeing over Christmas? Do you still make time to exercise throughout December?
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